Q: Should you only use a water treadmill for injured horses? Does a vet need to refer your horse?
A: Any horse can benefit from water treadmill exercise. It doesn’t matter what their age or level of activity – all horses will derive some benefit from moving against the resistance of the water. The only exception to this rule is if your horse is on box rest, in which case you’d need to wait until he’s back to walking freely again.
The aqua-treadmill improves core strength, topline and overall condition, so whilst the treadmill is ideal for rehabilitating horses after an injury, it is also great for the non-injured horse. In the injured horse the treadmill exercise is ideal as it provides controlled and very specific, correct exercise. But this kind of targeted exercise can also benefit the non-injured horse with many riders incorporating the aqua-treadmill into their routine just to work muscle groups that they struggle to work on their horses when riding. For all horses the aqua-treadmill improves general fitness.
No vet referral is required for using the treadmill, as your horse does not need to be injured to benefit from its use. However, it is advisable to speak to your vet to get their approval before starting your horse on a programme on the aqua-treadmill.